SALALA, Bong County — President George Weah and his Vice Standard bearer Jewel Howard-Taylor will support different legislative candidates in Bong County as they both campaign for second term.
By Selma Lomax, [email protected]
Howard-Taylor, a native of Bong County, had already endorsed her own candidates vying for legislative seats across the county, some of whom are not contesting on the ticket of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
In District One, the Vice President is supporting Melee Kermue for the representative seat against the party’s candidate Garbla Williams. In District Five, she is supporting the candidacy of Franklin Locula at the expense of the CDC candidate, Eugine Kollie. As for District Six, Howard-Taylor is supporting her long-time friend incumbent representative Moima Briggs-Mensah against the party’s candidate William Thompson.
In the Senate race, the vice president has declared support for Independent candidate and businessman-turned politician Johnny Kpehe despite the fact that Edward Karfiah of the People’s Unification Party is supporting the re-election of the CDC.
President Weah: “Vote One, Vote All”
At the start of his campaign in Bong County Monday, however, in the presence of his vice standard bearer, President Weah endorsed the candidacies of Thompson and Karfiah, admonishing partisans of the CDC to “vote one, vote all”.
Said President Weah: “In CDC, it’s always a vote one, vote all pattern. In District Six, my representative candidate is William Thompson and Edward Karfiah is my choice for the Senate.”
“If you love me as your president, vote for these individuals because I feel they will deliver the dividends of democracy when elected as representative and senator respectively,” President Weah added.
Mixed reactions greet President’s endorsement
On Monday, CDC partisans greeted President Weah’s endorsement of Karfiah with mixed reactions, with many saying the Liberian leader “was on his own” as they were not impressed with outgoing District Five representative’s 12 years.
They said though they have always respected the president’s decision over the years in endorsing candidates in Bong County, but his endorsement of Karfiah was personal, vowing to campaign against Karfiah to ensure he doesn’t get re-elected.
Morris Wrupu, a resident of Salala, said the president should have carefully scrutinized candidates in the county based on their performance before publicly endorsing them. Wrupu said President Weah’s endorsement of Karfiah could dent his chances in Bong County as the District Five representative is “an embodiment of a failed lawmaker whose district is rejecting his Senate bid.”
“To tell us to support Edward Karfiah is the same as telling us to support Joseph Boakai, because Karfiah has underperformed over the years despite serving as representative for 12 years. You can’t impose someone on us whose district hasn’t felt his impact. Mr. President, we will vote you as president and reject Edward Karfiah,” he said.
Patience Koffa, a resident of Totota, said while it’s true she supports President Weah’s re-election, his endorsement of Karfiah was contrary to their commitment to the party. “I have been energized to campaign against Karfiah because of what happened in Salala Monday. I can’t support Karfiah,” she said.
Some partisans also said it was a “total disrespect” to the vice president that President Weah ignored her choices of candidates, considering the fact that the CDC relies on her to deliver Bong County. “Where was the moral in what the president did? Where was it? You can’t come in our daughter’s native county and begin to ill treat. You treated her like this for four years, a decision that is making the people of Bong County angry with the CDC. She’s is appealing to us (citizens) to forgive the CDC and vote the party then similar act is repeated before our eyes,” Jeremiah Kerkulah, a partisan of the CDC told FrontPage Africa.
“I still believe there are still unsettled issues between the president and the vice president that’s is causing the level of disrespect. I guess if the CDC wins re-election the president might start again to ill treat the vice president.”
Kerkulah said the president’s decision to ignore candidates being supported by the vice president is believed to be the continuation of the internal fight in the party.
“This is not about Moima Briggs-Mensah or Johnny Kpehe, it’s about trying hard to humiliate the vice president in front of her people. A continuation of a fight that began at the start of this regime,” he added.
This is the second time the president and Howard-Taylor have differed on their choices of candidates in Bong County. During the 2020 Senatorial election, Howard-Taylor rejected the party’s choice Henry Yallah despite the president’s support to his candidacy and Yallah would go on to lose to now Senator Prince Moye by over fifty person of the votes.
Political pundits attributed Yallah’s lose to the refusal of the vice president to endorse his candidacy. Howard-Taylor has been an integral figure within the CDC, helping the party win for the first time in Bong County in 2017 with almost by a 50 percent vote difference.
President Weah is expected to tour all of Bong County’s 13 administrative districts, according to Smith Toby, the presidential spokesperson. Considering the first day of endorsing candidates of his wish, political pundits believed similar decisions by the president would be made in districts where he has his preferred candidates against his vice standard bearer’s choice.